The conservation of teddy bears

Teddy bears are much loved toys and comforters, but in the course of being cuddled and played with they become soiled and damaged. Ears are torn, paws worn away; they become distorted and grubby. Because of their importance to their owners they are not usually discarded and replaced like worn out clothes; their lives are extended through darning, patching and other home repairs. Some teddy bears are passed onto subsequent generations where they suffer further wear and tear.

In a museum their purpose changes; they become objects in a collection, in this instance at the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood.

Conservation of these teddy bears involved removing the old repairs - some of which had distorted the original form, and maintaining all that remained of the original object. (Of course if the object had an important provenance it may have been that the repairs were of interest too).They were cleaned and returned to their original shapes.

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Tue 10 February 2015 15:30

Join Christine Sitwell, Paintings Conservation Adviser for the National Trust, as she discusses the recently reattributed painting Self Portrait of Rembrandt to the master himself.

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